Capt. Michael Savedow
One more full month of winter fishing in the Edgewater Backcountry, sheepshead are one of the most sought after cold season targets, this inshore member of the porgy family eats crustaceans exclusively, best baits are fiddler crabs, but small live shrimp, peeled frozen shrimp, small pieces of clam, oyster or crab are a good second choice. They have a small hard mouth so use a sharp hook of #2 to 1/0 range, as little hardware and weight as possible and a fluorocarbon leader to make your rig stealthy in the clear winter water. Fish sheepsheads favorite type of living quarters, bridge or dock pilings, underwater rock piles, inlet jetty rocks, and oyster bars. Serious sheepy fishers will chum their spot with crushed oysters or scraped barnacles.
February is a good month to target bluefish any where along the ICW from New Smyrna to Oak Hill. These schooling fish are vicious feeders and will strike anything in their path. Be very careful of their teeth while unhooking. Since they will scar and scratch any lure you are using, most anglers will use older lures from their box which already have battle scars. Blues are a great fish for fly fishermen to target for fun fast action, also use your older, not so pretty flies, as blues are not picky and any fly used for them will soon be in that condition anyway.
The shallow water redfish schools are still in winter pattern, sunny days are best to find them in sheltered, calmer areas with little or no current where the water warms quickest during the day. Fish them very slowly to try to keep from running them off, the go to bait is a select size live shrimp with pinched off tail to release some scent. Gulp shrimp are as good or better sometimes with its strong scent. Cast it in front of, or near the reds and allow it to sit on the bottom for the fish to find and eat. Get in some more good winter fishing days and get ready for spring, I for one will be looking forward to warm weather in my future.
FORECAST BY: Capt. Michael Savedow
Edgewater River Guide